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Jenny Coon Peterson January 12th, 2011

Last year, the highlight of my new acquisitions was a strange birthday present from my mother: a blue teapot in the shape of a cartoon cat.

While that odd gift was memorable for many reasons — and, in fact, it still sits proudly on my desk, its weird, pink mouth smiling — I am happy to report that my favorite finds of 2010 are less peculiar.

While still not exactly bursting with wads of cash and high-paying jobs, the year saw some lovely new stores and excellent products in the metro. Here are some of my favorites.

The Girlie Show always yields interesting items, and it usually also yields a lightening of my bank account. This year was no different. For the second year, I went home with a necklace from vendor Ornamental Things, a gorgeous mix of found objects and vintage goodness from Austin jeweler Natalie Tischler.

I instantly fell in love with the long necklace in a burnished brass with a heavy glass orb as the pendant, a vintage timepiece set in the middle with its clockwork exposed. It was very Time Turner-esque (yes, a “Harry Potter” reference), although my husband declared it “Steampunk Flavor Flav.”

Check out more of Tischler’s designs at www.ornamentalthings.com.

Rink Gallery (3200 N. Rockwell; 787-7465) is one of those rare places my husband can spend more time than me (other candidates include the record store or a car shop). Where else can you come home with the Queen album “A Day at the Races” and a vintage chair in a mod, green upholstery? Yeah, that’s right: nowhere.

Where else can you come home with a Queen album and a vintage chair?

And the prices at Rink, a large, warehouse-style space that holds a huge variety of vendors, are really very reasonable. Always a bonus.

Finally, my adorable French sneakers. I had been practically stalking the canvas sneakers by Bensimon available at Heirloom Shoe (4415 N. Western; 605-0356), but I finally gave in and bought a pair about a month ago. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

These shoes have been flying out of stores on the East Coast. Head to Heirloom to snap up a couple pairs before they become as ubiquitous as Toms on hipsters-in-training (and, for the record, I still love Toms).

Heirloom is one of the metro’s newest shops, a lovely space that presents a well-edited collection of absolutely stunning shoes (many hailing from Europe) and some gifts.

Also new was Pinkitzel (150 S. E.K.

Gaylord; 235-7465), a frothy, whimsical candy shop and gift boutique. I am seriously as much in love with its look as I am with the cupcakes and candy.

One of the newest to open was 30 A Home (1106 N.W. 50th; 286- 3153), a tucked-away space that I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. I can already tell this quietly elegant furniture, home decor and gift shop, will become a favorite in 2011.

 
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